Information Stories

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About INFORMATION STORIES

Our Themes

What's at stake when local news and information flow doesn't serve all members of a community equally well? How can people respond? These are the questions at the heart of INFORMATION STORIES, a series of short digital narratives conceived by law professor Peter M. Shane and filmmaker Liv Gjestvang. Peter and Liv recruited a dozen storytellers from around the United States, who shared their personal experiences around these themes in a July, 2010 Digital Storytelling Workshop co-sponsored by the Ohio State University Digital Union (part of the Office of the CIO), the University Libraries, and the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Our Storytellers

More Stories at YouTube

You will hear of a community organizer's decades-long struggle to elicit media interest in asbestos-related disease in Montana. A young radio reporter and producer from Chicago reveals how he learned to listen to, not just speak to his community. The executive director of Native Public Media tells how her dedication to bringing broadband to Indian country is rooted in her childhood experience of media impoverishment. A state legislator explains how she helped found an online newspaper to fill a civic news vacuum in her New Hampshire town. A high school student relates why she thought it important to make transgender people a more visible presence at San Francisco Pride. Other storytellers include a small town mayor, the executive director of a faith-based community organizing project, the manager of an online dialogue space, and a community television board member. You will hear from a convener of community conversations about public health. An undocumented immigrant tells how he pursues art and community organizing to make visible the immigrant experience. A "hard-of-hearing" English professor talks about making the voices of deaf students heard. Some are stories about journalism, some are stories about activism. All reveal the loss when local information flows leave stories uncovered, concerns unaddressed, or voices left out and the gain when these exclusions don't happen.

Who Funded INFORMATION STORIES?

INFORMATION STORIES was produced through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The series is intended to help make concrete some of the critical issues raised by Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age (Aspen Institute, 2009), which is the final report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. Copies of the report are available for free download at http://www.knightcomm.org, which offers many additional resources for helping to assess and act upon the needs of local communities for news and information.

Who Originated INFORMATION STORIES?

Peter M. Shane, who provides an introduction and conclusion to INFORMATION STORIES, was the executive director of the Knight Commission. He is the Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law at Ohio State University, and author of CONNECTING DEMOCRACY: ONLINE CONSULTATION AND THE FLOW OF POLITICAL COMMUNICATION (with Stephen Coleman) (MIT Press 2011), and MADISON'S NIGHTMARE: HOW EXECUTIVE POWER THREATENS AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (University of Chicago Press 2009).

Liv Gjestvang is a filmmaker based in Columbus, Ohio with over a decade's experience in community-based media. She is the Coordinator of OSU's Digital Union, where she organizes campus-wide educational programs and teaches workshops in audio and video production. Liv began working with youth and media production at Listen Up!, a multimedia network based in New York City. She has taught young filmmakers at Taos Talking Pictures and the Sundance Film Festival and currently teaches film, video and DJ/VJ classes to students aged 6-18 at the Wexner Center for the Arts. She has produced collaborative videos with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community as well as youth and adults living with HIV and AIDS.